International Crew of Nine In Space Working on the Orbital Laboratory

Nine Space Station Crew Members
An international crew of nine from the U.S.. Russia, Japan, Denmark and Kazakhstan will work together on the orbital laboratory until Sept. 11. Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz crew members Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency joined their Expedition 44 crewmates when the hatches between the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft and the International Space Station officially opened at 6:15 a.m. EDT. Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) welcomed the new crew members aboard their orbital home, marking the first time since 2013 that nine people have been aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The crew will support several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science — research that impacts life on Earth.

The trip enables Roscosmos to rotate a crew member and a Soyuz spacecraft. Volkov will remain aboard the station for the next six months, returning in March 2016 with one-year mission crew members Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-18M. Padalka, who launched in March with Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-16M, will return to Earth in that spacecraft on Sept. 11 with Mogensen and Aimbetov, leaving Kelly in command of Expedition 45. Lindgren, Kononenko and Yui will remain aboard the station until late December. Each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months.

You can follow the crew’s activities in space on social media. Follow space station activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow Twitter updates from Kjell Lindgren, Kimiya Yui, Andreas Mogensen, Sergey Volkov, and Scott Kelly, and follow Kelly on Instagram.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station on Twitter, follow the hashtag #ISS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Soyuz Crew Docks Delivering New Science to Station

Sept. 4, 2015: International Space Station Configuration
Sept. 4, 2015: International Space Station Configuration. The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is docked to the Poisk mini-research module. The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. Japan’s “Kounotori” HTV-5 is berthed to the Harmony module.

The Soyuz TMA-18M vehicle docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk module at 3:39 a.m. EDT, above eastern Kazakhstan.

Aboard the space station, Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will welcome Soyuz crew members Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency when the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened.

Watch the hatch opening and welcome ceremony live on NASA TV beginning at 5:45 a.m.: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

This Soyuz flight carries with it equipment to be used in research investigations planned aboard the orbiting laboratory. One item, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Skinsuit, will help astronauts counteract potential back problems in microgravity. Some astronauts’ spines have been shown to lengthen as much as 7 cm in weightlessness, which can cause pain. The Skinsuit resembles overalls that are specially designed to simulate gravitational forces from Earth to constrict the body from shoulders to feet. ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will test the suit for the first time in space as part of his space station mission.

European Astronaut Thomas Pesquet Tests Skinsuit
European astronaut Thomas Pesquet tested his Skinsuit on a parabolic flight in March. European astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be the first astronaut to evaluate the Skinsuit in space. The suits need to fit tightly but comfortable, while creating the right amount of force in the right places. Credit: CNES/Novespace, 2014

Testing this clothing item in space may help astronauts with any back pain they experience on long-duration missions. Further, the Skinsuit has potential use for older adults with spine issues and people suffering from low-back pain on Earth. It also could be used as a support item for people with conditions like cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting movement, muscle tone and/or posture.

Several investigations aboard the space station employ dosimeters to gather information about space radiation to manage exposure and provide protection to crew members, and more dosimeters are traveling to the station on this Soyuz. The Area Passive Dosimeter for Life-Science Experiments in Space (Area PADLES) investigation helps researchers collect data to design radiation monitoring equipment for astronauts. This knowledge may improve design for spacecraft structures that shield internal occupants from radiation. Scientists also may use the data to develop protection devices for people who work in medical or industrial areas with potential radiation exposure.

NASA TV Covering Soyuz Docking Live

A Soyuz Spacecraft is Seen Docking
A Soyuz spacecraft is seen docking in March 2014 during Expedition 39.

Aboard their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft, Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are scheduled to dock at 3:42 a.m. EDT to the International Space Station. NASA Television coverage of the docking can also be seen online at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

NASA TV will then resume at 5:45 a.m. to cover hatch opening between the two spacecraft as well as the welcome ceremony.

The three will join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). With their arrival to the station on Friday, Sept. 4, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station on Twitter, follow the hashtag #ISS. 

Station Crew Works Life Science Before New Crew Arrives

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgre
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren replaces items inside the Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus found inside the station’s Combustion Integrated Rack

The six Expedition 44 crew members worked on a wide variety space research Thursday. They will welcome three extra crew members early Friday morning temporarily increasing the International Space Station’s population to nine residents.

The International Space Station’s newest astronauts, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren, worked on life science. Yui installed a new Mouse Habitat Unit in the Kibo laboratory. The mice will be delivered on a future cargo mission. Lindgren took body measurements before exploring the physics of a cup for drinking in space.

A veteran cosmonaut and two first time crew mates are on their way to the space station to swap spaceships. Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov will dock the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft to the Poisk module Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT. Volkov will stay in space until March. His fellow crew members Andreas Mogensen from Denmark and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan will return to Earth Sept. 11 with station Commander Gennady Padalka inside the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft.

Crew Begins Two Day Trip to Orbital Laboratory

Soyuz TMA-18M Crew Members
Soyuz TMA-18M crew members get ready to board their rocket before launching early Wednesday. From top are Flight Engineers Andreas Mogensen and Aidyn Aimbetov and Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov. Credit: European Space Agency

Three crew members are orbiting Earth getting ready to dock to the International Space Station early Friday in their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft. Meanwhile, the six residents on the orbital laboratory are exploring human research and maintaining life support systems.

Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov and first-time space flyers Andreas Mogensen from Denmark and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazakhstan launched today at 12:37 a.m. EDT beginning a two-day trip to the space station’s Poisk module. Volkov will stay in space till March. Mogensen and Aimbetov will return home Sept. 11 with record-setting cosmonaut Gennady Padalka in the older Soyuz TMA-16M spaceship.

Long-term microgravity research is the station’s primary mission as scientists and astronauts learn to live in space for extended periods. A pair of One-Year Crew members, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, studied how microgravity affects a crew member’s ability to perform specific tasks as well as fatigue due to disruption of a normal sunrise/sunset schedule.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui worked on science hardware as he reconfigured the Cell Biology Experiment Facility inside the Kibo laboratory module. NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren participated in an experiment exploring techniques for monitoring a crew member’s pulmonary system.

Three Soyuz Crew Members Launch for Two Day Trip to Station

Expedition 45 Soyuz Launch from Kazakhstan. Credit: ESA
Soyuz TMA-18M launches to the International Space Station on September 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: ESA/S. Corvaja

The Soyuz TMA-18M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). At launch, the station was flying 250 miles above south-central Kazakhstan, having passed over the Baikonur Cosmodrome less than a minute before liftoff. Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are now are safely in orbit.

NASA TV coverage continues at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

They are on a two-day course to dock to the station at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m.

With the arrival of Volkov, Mogensen and Aimbetov, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013. The three will join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

At 2:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, NASA TV will provide a live broadcast as Padalka hands over command of the space station to Kelly. Expedition 45 begins on Sept. 11 when Padalka, Mogensen and Aimbetov undock from the orbiting outpost in the Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-16M and return to Earth. The Soyuz TMA-16M carried Padalka, Kelly, and Kornienko to space in March. Because each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months, the spacecraft swap is necessary during the one-year mission.

Below is the timeline for the remainder of the crew’s trip to the orbiting laboratory.

Wednesday  Sept. 2, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
4:12 am         DV-1 rendezvous burn (37 mph / 55 fps)
4:52 am         DV-2 burn (25 mph / 36 fps)
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

Thursday      Sept. 3, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
1:39 am         DV-3 burn (4.4 mph / 6.5 fps)
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

Friday Sept. 4, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
1:15 am         Automated Rendezvous & Docking (AR&D) start
1:35 am         US Motion Control Sys handover to Russian segment
1:35:08 am   AR&D Impulse 1 (65.5 mph / 96 fps)
1:40 am         Station maneuvers to docking attitude
1:58 am         AR&D Impulse 2 (2.9 mph / 4.2 fps)
2:01:05 am   Range 124 miles – establish Soyuz VHF-2 voice link
2:01:30 am   Soyuz Kurs-A (Active) activation
2:03:30 am   Service Module (Zvezda) Kurs-P (Passive) activation
2:20 am         AR&D Impulse 3 (91.8 mph / 134.7 fps)
2:27 am         Range 49.7 miles – Valid Kurs-P range data
2:48 am         Range 9.3 miles (49,212 ft) – Kurs-A & -P short test
2:56 am         Range 4.9 miles (26,247 ft) – Soyuz TV activation
2:58 am         SCAN & RapidScat inhibit–NLT (3.7 miles / 19,685 ft)
3:00 am         NASA TV:      DOCKING COVERAGE BEGINS
3:03 am         AR&D Impulse 4 (16 mph / 23 fps)
3:04 am         AR&D Ballistic Targeting Point
3:08 am         AR&D Impulse 5 (13 mph / 19 fps)
3:10 am         AR&D Impulse 6 (4.6 mph / 6.8 fps)
3:13 am         Sunrise
3:13 am         Fly-around mode start
3:23 am         Station keeping start
3:31 am         Final approach start
3:42 am         Docking to MRM2–“Poisk”

  • 250 miles up & above eastern Kazakhstan
  • Station to free drift

3:55 am         Soyuz & Poisk hooks closed

  • Station maneuvers to LVLH attitude

4:13 am         Sunset
4:35 am         Russian to US Motion Control System handover
5:45 am         NASA TV: HATCH/WELCOME COVERAGE
6:15 am                     Hatch opening & welcome ceremony

  • Includes VIP & family calls from Baikonur

8:00 am         NASA TV: Docking, hatches & welcome highlights
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

Watch Soyuz Rocket Launch on NASA TV at 11:45 p.m. EDT

Soyuz Rocket on Launch Pad
The Soyuz TMA-18M rocket that will launch three new crew members to the International Space Station sits on its pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency have boarded the Russian Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft that will carry them to the International Space Station. All is on track for liftoff at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 11:45 p.m. Watch on NASA TV or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The crew will make 34 orbits of Earth in two days en route to the station before arriving Friday, Sept. 4. The three will join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It will be the first time since 2013 that nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The trip enables Roscosmos to rotate a crew member and a Soyuz spacecraft. Volkov will remain aboard the station for the next six months, returning in March 2016 with one-year mission crew members Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-18M. Padalka, who launched in March with Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-16M, will return to Earth in that spacecraft on Sept. 11 with Mogensen and Aimbetov. Each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months.

To join the online conversation about the mission, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS.

Schedule of Pre-Launch Activities Before Tonight’s Soyuz Liftoff

Soyuz TMA-18M Crew Members
Soyuz TMA-18M crew members (from left) Aidyn Aimbetov, Sergey Volkov and Andreas Mogensen.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). NASA TV will broadcast launch coverage live at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv beginning tonight at 11:45 p.m.

The three will join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). With their arrival to the station on Friday, Sept. 4, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline.

Tuesday, Sept. 1

EDT                 EVENT
3:37 pm         Crew wakeup (L-9 hrs)
4:37 pm         Final countdown begins; Soyuz systems checks (L-8 hrs)
6:37 pm         Crew departs hotel (L-6 hrs)
6:52 pm         Batteries installed in booster (L-5 hrs, 45 min)
7:07 pm         State Commission “Go” (L-5 hrs, 30 min)
7:35 pm         Crew arrives at Bldg 254 / Final medical check-ups
7:37 pm         Tanking begins (L-5 hrs)
8:07 pm         Crew suit up (L-4 hrs, 30 min)
8:32 pm         Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen (L-4 hrs, 5 min)
9:07 pm         Crew greets family & friends (L-3 hrs, 30 min)
9:32 pm         1st & 2nd stage O2 fueling complete (L-3 hrs, 5 min)
9:37 pm         Crew walkout & report to State Commission
9:42 pm         Crew departs for launch pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 55 min)
10:02 pm       Crew arrives at launch pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 35 min)
10:12 pm       Crew boards Soyuz TMA-18M (L-2 hr, 25 min)
10:37 pm       Crew in re-entry vehicle (L-2 hrs)
10:52 pm       Re-entry vehicle hardware tested/suits ventilated
11:17 pm       Hatch closed; leak checks begin (L-1 hr, 20 min)
11:37 pm       Launch vehicle control sys prep; gyros active (L-1 hr)
11:45 pm       NASA TV:      LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
11:52 pm       Pad service structure components lowered (L-45 min)
11:53 pm       Clamshell-like gantry service towers retracted
11:55 pm       NASA TV:      Crew pre-launch activities (B-roll)
Midnight         Suit leak checks; re-entry vehicle testing complete

Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
12:03 am       Emergency escape system armed (L-34 min)
12:22 am       Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
12:27 am       Gyros “uncaged” & recorders activated (L-10 min)
12:30 am       Pre-launch operations complete (L-7 min)
12:31 am       Final launch countdown operations to auto (L-6 min)
• Launch complex/vehicle systems ready
12:32 am       Commander’s controls active/helmets closed (L-5 min)
• Launch key inserted (yes, a real key)
12:33 am       Combustion chamber nitrogen purge (L-4 min)
12:34 am       Booster propellant tank pressurization (drainback)
12:36:13 am Ground propellant feed terminated (L-90 seconds)
12:36:43 am Vehicle to internal power (L-60 seconds)
12:36:56 am  Station in-plane above Baikonur (L-47 seconds)
12:37:10 am Auto sequence start (L-35 seconds)
• First umbilical tower separates
12:37:13 am 3rd stage ground power umbilical separation (L-30 sec)
12:37:28 am Second umbilical tower separates (L-15 sec)
12:37:31 am Launch command issued (L-12 sec)
• Central / side pod engines start
12:37:33 am Engine turbopumps at flight speed (L-10 sec)
12:37:38 am Engines at maximum thrust (L-5 sec)
12:37:43 am LAUNCH (3 hrs, 37 min after sunrise)
• ISS 250 miles up, above south-central Kazakhstan
12:46:28 am Orbital insertion (L+8 min, 45 sec)
• ISS above China, 1,437 miles ahead of Soyuz
1:15 am         NASA TV:      PLAYBACK:  VIP interviews / launch replays
2:30 am         NASA TV:      PLAYBACK:  Launch related video highlights
4:12 am         DV-1 rendezvous burn (37 mph / 55 fps)
4:52 am         DV-2 burn (25 mph / 36 fps)
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit https://www.nasa.gov/station. To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS. Find all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA at: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

Next Soyuz Crew Ready for Launch

Soyuz crew (left to right) Aidyn Aimbetov, Sergey Volkov and Andreas Mogensen are set to launch at 12:37 a.m. Sept 2.
Soyuz crew (left to right) Aidyn Aimbetov, Sergey Volkov and Andreas Mogensen are set to launch at 12:37 a.m. Sept 2.

An international crew of three is  ready for a two-day ride to the International Space Station. The Soyuz rocket that will lift them to space is set to launch tonight from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Watch tonight’s launch LIVE on NASA TV

Veteran cosmonaut Sergey Volkov will command the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft. Joining him for the trip to the station will be first time flyers Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazcosmos, the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile aboard the station, One-year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko continued their Human Research Program studies today taking measurements for the Fluid Shifts study and Fine Motor Skills.

JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui is continuing work to reconfigure the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) to support the new Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU) delivered on HTV-5. NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren is performing post-transfer work on the newly arrived Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR)-2.

Soyuz Rocket Rolls Out Before Sept. 2 Crew Launch

The Soyuz TMA-18M Rocket
The Soyuz TMA-18M rocket sits atop its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after rolling out from the Integration Facility Monday morning. Credit: NASA TV

An international crew of three is getting ready for a two-day ride to the International Space Station. The Soyuz rocket that will lift them to space rolled out to its launch pad today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Veteran cosmonaut Sergei Volkov will command the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft that will launch Sept. 2 at 12:37 a.m. EDT. Joining him for the trip to the station will be first time flyers Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazcosmos, the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan. NASA Television will broadcast the launch and docking activities live.

Onboard the orbital laboratory the One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko took part in a variety of human research experiments. They studied how microgravity affects vision and explored how spacecraft design influences crew performance.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui unpacked the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack-2 (MSPR-2) from the new HTV-5 resupply ship today.  The MSPR-2, which houses small science payloads, was installed in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module.